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I have an employment law question regarding being off (with…

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I have an employment law...
I have an employment law question regarding being laid off (with my co-worker) after we both made internal compliance complaints that resulted in numerous terminations and a lengthy investigation.
Submitted: 5 months ago.Category: Employment Law
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Answered in 11 minutes by:
11/12/2017
Employment Lawyer: legalgems, Lawyer replied 5 months ago
legalgems
legalgems, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12,570
Experience: Just Answer consultant at Self employed
Verified

Hello! I will be reviewing your question and posting a response momentarily; if you have any follow up questions please respond here. Thanks!

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Employment Lawyer: legalgems, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

I am sorry to hear this; what is your state, and your specific questions please?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Mass. Is there a claim for wrongful termination if my co-worker and I brought up illegal issues with compliance and then were laid off a few months later. Both have excellent reviews. No HR issues. Are there other potential claims?
Employment Lawyer: legalgems, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

I am an individual contributor so I don't have access to your account other than a note that there was a payment failure; please contact ww2.justanswer.com/help so they can help you with that.

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
This set off a fraud alert with Amex. will try again.
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
amex called and I verified charge but your system won't let me put through. Tried numerous times. so let's just chat instead of call.
Employment Lawyer: legalgems, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

That's fine;

What state is this in?

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
MA
Customer reply replied 5 months ago
Massachusetts
Employment Lawyer: legalgems, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

That is known as whisteblower protection and there is a 3year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful termination suit based on such termination; please see:

http://www.mass.gov/ago/docs/workplace/anti-retaliation/anti-retaliation.pdf

Basically if the employee reports employer misconduct that is addressed by case law, statute, or even a general public policy concern, and the employer retaliates based on that, the employee may seek damages for wrongful termination (retaliation)

Here is the statute that governs reports re: wage issues:

Section 148A: Employees seeking rights under provisions of this chapter; discharge or discrimination; punishment

Section 148A. No employee shall be penalized by an employer in any way as a result of any action on the part of an employee to seek his or her rights under the wages and hours provisions of this chapter.

Any employer who discharges or in any other manner discriminates against any employee because such employee has made a complaint to the attorney general or any other person, or assists the attorney general in any investigation under this chapter, or has instituted, or caused to be instituted any proceeding under or related to this chapter, or has testified or is about to testify in any such proceedings, shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C.

For wage violations the employee must first file with the attorney general:

http://www.mass.gov/lwd/labor-standards/

Attorney referral information here:

http://www.mass.gov/courts/programs/legal-assistance/ma-legal-referral-gen.html

Please see as well:

http://www.mass.gov/ago/doing-business-in-massachusetts/workplace-rights/protections-against-retaliations.html

Relevant statute:

Section 19: Punishments for stated acts

Section 19. (1) Any employer and his agent, or the officer or agent of any corporation who discharges or in any other manner discriminates against any employee, including any employee in the domestic service of any family or person at his home, because such employee has complained of a violation of the provisions of this chapter, or has testified or is about to testify in any investigation or proceeding under or related to this chapter, or because such employer believes that said employee or individual may complain of a violation of the provisions of this chapter, shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and shall be liable for damages which shall not be less than one month's wages nor more than two month's wages of such individual, and the costs of the suit, including a reasonable attorney's fee.

(2) Any employer or the officer or agent of any corporation who knowingly pays or agrees to pay to any employee less than the rates applicable to such employee under a regulation minimum fair wage established by the commissioner, or who pays or agrees to pay to any employee less than one dollar and eighty-five cents per hour in any occupation not covered by a minimum wage regulation shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and each week in any day of which such employee is paid less than the rate applicable to him under a minimum fair wage regulation and each employee so paid less, shall constitute a separate offense.

(2A) Any employer or the officer or agent of any corporation who knowingly pays or agrees to pay to any employee in agriculture and farming less than one dollar and sixty cents per hour shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and each week in any day in which such employee is paid less shall constitute a separate offense.

(3) An employer or the officer or agent of a corporation who fails to keep the true and accurate records required under this chapter or to furnish a record to the attorney general, the commissioner, or an authorized representative of the attorney general or commissioner upon request, or who falsifies a record, or who fails to allow an employee to inspect a record under section 15, or who fails to comply with a requirement of the commissioner under the last sentence of section 16, or who hinders or delays the attorney general, commissioner or representative in the performance of his duties, or who refuses to admit, or locks out, the attorney general, commissioner, or representative from a place of employment, other than a place of employment of a person engaged in domestic service in the home of the employer, which he is authorized to inspect, shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and each day of the failure to keep a record or to furnish to the attorney general, commissioner or representative a record or other information required for the proper enforcement of this chapter shall constitute a separate offense.

(4) No person shall, for the purpose of evading this chapter, establish any arrangement or organization in his business, by contract, lease or agreement, whether written or oral, whereby a person who would otherwise be his employee does not have the status of such an employee. If the commissioner is of the opinion that any person has established an arrangement or organization in violation of this paragraph, after a public hearing, due notice whereof shall have been given, and at which a reasonable opportunity to be heard has been afforded to such person, he may order such person to cease and desist from such violation; and such an order shall be subject to review under section fourteen in the same manner and to the same extent as any decision of the commissioner under this chapter. Any person so ordered to cease and desist who fails to comply therewith for thirty days after such order has been served upon him shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149.

(5) Whoever directly or indirectly solicits, demands, requests or accepts from any employee any return of a portion of his wages, which would result in such employee retaining less than the rate of wages required by this chapter, or whoever threatens, coerces or intimidates any employee who has wages due under this chapter, for the purpose of causing such person to accept as payment in full a lesser sum than the full amount of the wages so due, shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C of chapter 149, and each employee so solicited or threatened shall constitute a separate offense. An employer who discharges or in any other manner penalizes or discriminates against an employee because the employee has made a complaint to the attorney general or any other person, or assists the attorney general in an investigation under this chapter, or has instituted, or caused to be instituted a proceeding under or related to this chapter, or has testified or is about to testify in the proceeding, or has taken any other action to seek rights under this chapter, shall have violated this section and shall be punished or shall be subject to a civil citation or order as provided in section 27C.

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXXI/Chapter151/Section19

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Customer reply replied 5 months ago
your answer is in response to wage law? This is not regarding wage law -- but kick back and misbranding of products
Employment Lawyer: legalgems, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

No; I included wage law as well as other violations; were you able to review the entire response? The last statute addresses any violations,

and there is also a statement about how even public policy concerns can give rise to retaliation wrongful termination issues.

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Employment Lawyer: legalgems, Lawyer replied 5 months ago

Hello again; just checking in to see how things worked out;

If you have no further questions a positive rating is most appreciated (at no additional cost to you) and allows the site to credit my account for the time spent assisting you!

if you have further questions please don't hesitate to reach out to me here on Just Answerand I will do my best to get you the requested information.
Thanks!

The above information is for educational purposes only. A consultation with a private attorney is recommended so they can apply the law to your specific facts, and suggest the best course of action. An attorney can be located here:
http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/public-information/how-do-i-find-a-lawyer-.html
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